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Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Sales Development Leaders: Jon Parisi of GuideSpark

3 min read
July 28, 2015

Entry level backgrounds in industries like recruiting, marketing, and customer service have proven to be successful starting blocks for many sales development reps. Even college grads fresh off the stage seem to be heading straight into sales development roles before they even have time to move their tassels.

But many of these sales development reps are climbing the ranks in the sales industry faster than they ever thought possible. 

Jon Parisi is one of the top industry leaders who’s sales career began in a sales development role. We asked him a few questions about his experience in sales development and how it’s shaped his career today. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Where was your first job as a Sales Development Rep?

I was a Sales Development Rep at Thomson Financial back in 2004. My job was to set up meetings for Account Executives, do product demonstrations, process billing inquiries, create order forms, handle product trials, create proposals, and on top of that, I had a quota to bring in $20K ARR in new business per month.

2. What was the company’s history with sales development?

The position wasn’t called “Sales Development Rep” back then, but the role was essentially the same. The company had a history of years and years of the “Sales Associate” role and, unfortunately, the company abandoned the program a few years after I was hired.

3. Was there a set career matrix for SDRs?

Yes — It was to become a quota bearing rep. The idea behind it was that if you could close your own business — on top of all your other duties — that you could most likely make it in an outbound role.

4. Where are you now?

I’m Senior Director, Sales Development at GuideSpark. A lot of the program I’ve built here revolves loosely around the “Sales Associate” program I was hired into at Thomson. The reason being: many of the best quota bearing reps I know today came from that particular role.

BONUS! : What is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering their first job as an SDR?

You are currently interviewing for your next role every single day, whether you realize it or not. Put your head down, work hard, listen to feedback and have the right attitude and you will go far in sales.

Sales development is proving to be the springboard to many a career, launching SDR veterans into management and leadership roles at lightening speed. Whether within their starting company, or in new ventures, the growth potential of a seasoned sales development rep is boundless.

Want to be a Senior Director someday? Start your career in sales development, and odds are, that day will come sooner than you think.